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New Mexico Durable Power of Attorney Laws

Planning for a family member or a loved one’s health care, treatment, and even whether to continue life support can be difficult. But if a person you care for becomes incapacitated, someone else may need to make the big medical decisions. A legal arrangement called a “durable power of attorney” can ensure that those hard decisions are made by someone the patient trusts. This is brief overview of durable power of attorney laws in New Mexico.

Durable Power of Attorney Statutes

It’s possible a person has already designated their wishes in a living will, and if so, those will generally be honored. Without a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care can appoint a named person (sometimes called an “agent” or a “proxy”) to make health care decisions for an debilitated patient. New Mexico’s durable power of attorney statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

New Mexico Statutes 24-7A-1 et seq.: Uniform Health Care Decisions Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Agent has power of attorney for health care to make health care decisions including selection and discharge of health care providers, approval and disapproval of diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, programs of medication, orders not to resuscitate, and directions to provide, withhold or withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration and all others forms of treatment or health care which maintains, diagnoses, or otherwise affects an individual's mental or physical condition.

Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney

(1) Adult or emancipated minor having capacity; (2) in writing; (3) signed by principal; (4) may include individual instructions; (5) effective upon determination that principal lacks capacity

Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney

Individual with capacity may revoke by (1) signed writing; (2) personally informing supervising health care provider; (3) in any manner that communicates intent to revoke; (4) filing for divorce or legal separation revokes designation of spouse as agent (revived by remarriage); (5) conflicting earlier health care directive (to the extent of the conflict)

Validity from State-to-State

Valid if it complies with provisions of Uniform Health Care Decisions Act regardless of where it was executed or communicated.

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Physicians or health care provider who declines to comply with health care decision must inform patient or agent; provide continuing care until a transfer can be effected, and make reasonable efforts to assist in transfer to willing health care provider or physician.

Immunity for Attending Physician

No civil or criminal liability or discipline for unprofessional conduct if health care provider acting in good faith and in accordance with generally accepted health care standards in complying with provisions of this act.

More Resources for New Mexico Durable Power of Attorney Laws

Health care decisions, and creating powers of attorney to make them, are serious matters. For additional articles and resources on this topic you can visit FindLaw’s section on Living Wills and Power of Attorney. If you would like legal assistance with a power of attorney or health care matter, you can contact a New Mexico estate planning attorney or a New Mexico health care attorney.

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